South Africa to looks at nuclear energy

Producing usable energy by using nuclear power technology is definitely an alternative being contemplated by government, says Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.

“The acute need to secure reliable energy supplies and the urgent requirement to reduce carbon emissions has put nuclear energy firmly on the agenda as a viable choice to be pursued in order to achieve an acceptable energy mix for our country,” the minister told a media roundtable on Wednesday.

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters

She also stated that nuclear energy was becoming a preferred solution to deal with concerns related to energy security and independence in addition to efforts to mitigate the dangers posed by climate change.

Several other countries around the world are also showing renewed interest in nuclear electrical power, while others are looking at increasing their particular established programmes, which includes South Africa.


South Africa in 2008 approved the Nuclear Energy Policy, which the country is already in the phases of implementing with the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) performing an important role.

The minister said government thought that nuclear technological innovation should be pursued mainly because it was a technology that might safely and effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is a proven baseload electricity alternative. Additionally , it is economically competitive and is safe when it is properly managed.


Cognisant of issues such as the disposal and storage of long term radioactive waste, the safety of people as well as the proper protection of the environment, governing administration is in the process of establishing the National Radioactive Waste Management Institute (NRWMI), which is going to assume responsibility associated with taking care of radioactive waste disposal on a national level.

Peters said authorities is only going to make a decision pertaining to nuclear power as soon as the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) is actually approved with advices coming from all stakeholders.

Global Nuclear Power Stations

“Nuclear power is a long term programme and to meet targets of the draft IRP, some work must start more than 12 years before a single watt of power is produced from new nuclear.”

The IRP is a 20-year-electricity capacity strategy for South Africa. It is designed to provide an indication associated with the nation’s electricity demand; precisely how such requirement will be provided and exactly what it will cost.


On the subject of whether power parastatal Eskom be involved in the actual build programme of nuclear power, the minister said: “This is still being considered at government level, among a few other options. We will make this decision based on what is best for the country going forward.”

South Africa at present definitely does not possess the particular expertise to operate a large fleet base of nuclear stations.


“We do not have the skills base right now and neither do we require it today. In this regard, the long time frames of a nuclear programme allows us sufficient time to develop the appropriate skills,” said Peters.

The adoptions of nuclear power, which South Africa gave up many years ago, will result in significant job creation, development and opportunities.

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Disaster

Source: BuaNews, alternate-energy-sources.com, mathies.com, world-nuclear.org, solcomhouse.com, toxipedia.org

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